Milestones of a Dying Empire: $1 Million on TV Ads in One Day in Presidential Marketing Race

In the 1950s, megacorporations launched “the marketing revolution” by making conscious, scientific management of prospective customers’ off-the-job experiences the king of the managerial arts.

The political marketing revolution — the use of targeting, focus groups, and careful image-creation to sell what otherwise would not sell — has lagged only a few years behind its directly commercial parent discipline. At least since Bill Clinton, its role in the farces we call federal elections has been complete. Honest, spontaneous, open debate no longer exists in any degree in the selection of American presidents. Now, it’s all rehearsed restatements of “tested” product-differentiation tactics. The amount of honesty involved in the process is roughly the same as it is in the marketing of Enzyte, the once-daily tablet for natural male enhancement.

This is not really news, of course. But here’s something that is: the “major” (read: “safe”) image-bots competing for the nominations of our two quasi-rivalrous Business State “parties” have (along with the sad freakshow attending Ron Paul, the Texas “libertarian” who proposes state-fascist immigration policies) now produced the first million-dollar-day in U.S. political advertising history. Evan Tracey of Advertising Age magazine reports:

On Dec. 10, the 2008 presidential campaign hit a significant milestone: the first $1 million dollar day in TV spending. What makes this day so extraordinary is the majority of this spending is not from groups, but from the candidates. The spending is largely aimed at voters in just two states and the ads are, for the most part, positive. Further, this amount takes into account only broadcast TV.

So mark down Dec. 10 on the calendar; it will be something to win future bar-stool bets. It was the first day with $1 million-plus in TV political spending, but it won’t be the last. Submit your prediction now for the first $2 million dollar day. I have Jan. 2 in the pool.

All this 11 months before an “election” in which, despite long-standing public frustrations, virtually nothing is at stake — not war, not single-payer health insurance, not economic redistribution, not seriously increased educational spending, not substantial political reform of any kind.

The word keeps recurring around here: decrepitude.

A New Phase in Iraq War Marketing

“LeftI on the News” nails the latest reports, per The New York Times, that the “major” Democratic Party candidates are now “seeing the progress” in Iraq. Check out their post here.

bio of jkgAs I wrote in a comment over there, the real story is best clarified via the late, great John Kenneth Galbraith’s under-appreciated book, The Culture of Contentment, in which Galbraith explains the actual roles and methods of the two wings (Republicans and Democrats) of the Business Party that runs our state on behalf of corporate capital. As Galbraith argues, the Republicans are actually a far superior political party, judged in terms of honesty about stated goals and actual behavior.

Here’s what I wrote over at LeftI, with Galbraith in mind:

Excellent analysis [of the “seeing progress” news]! And it confirms something that the sea of confused liberals (for whom I have much sympathy) have spent 6 years missing: Our system works very well at achieving its clear #1 priority, which is serving the corporate overclass. Analyzed correctly, Cheney is one of history’s best politicians, a true hero for his constituents. He got elected behind the “compassionate conservative” Monkey-Man and then quickly proceeded to do what it took to stick a permanent U.S. military base in the ME, with (at least possibly) a new sweetheart deal providing special control over the largest untapped oil reserve in the region.

And, truth be told, the Democratic Party, having finished jettisoning popular constituencies under Killiam Klinton back in the 1990s, accepts and will preserve this huge victory for the corporate class, from which it draws its advertising budget in exchange for preserving the illusion that corporate capitalism is at all compatible with civilization and human decency.

Of course, Peak Oil and the final round of poker in our winners-took-all pseudo-economy may soon cause the Money Holders some grief in other ways, but Cheney has simply delivered the goods, and the mighty Dems are now ready to step in and drape it all in a show of reluctance and embattled principles…

The role of the “New Democrats” is, as it always has been, now (after the new increase in overclass power) to run a new kind of political marketing over the top of the new corporate victories. “We would love to leave Iraq completely, but how can we, since they continue to kill one another? We must uphold our humanitarian values!” Nobody seriously believes either Monkey-Man or Cheney knows what a non-financial value is, let alone cares.

a friend of the war criminalsBut Killary Klinton has just the right credentials to sell this soap for 4 or 8 years. Plus, she’s a girl, and we all know girls are born to care!

P.S. Note how Killary packages herself as a tough-ass Tomgirl — the boy’s dress-shirt, the lezzish hairdo! — when she visits the troops. This is only natural since both she and her “husband” Killiam are 100% given to the methods and principles of modern marketing, as handled by the “consultants” they have at elbow 24/7.

If you listen, you’ll be able to hear dear Killary’s “hearty laugh” as she reaps your vote next November.

The Reach of Political Marketing

The marketing attitude — surreptitiously probe for and exploit their weakness, and screw their genuine needs and desires — saturates the fabric of our politics. One of the vectors of a major advance in this market-totalitarian trend was/is Mr. Slick Willie Klinton, a man with a corporate pusher’s hole-for-a-soul.

As President, the Man From Smoke hugged and smiled and talked soft in all the right places, all in order to achieve the right’s dream agenda: kill single-payer health insurance, further crush the welfare state, and undermine the independent counsel laws (that didn’t have any later costs, did it?). All this happened only via the constant help of focus group-running devils like James Carville.

A good book review on this disgusting fraudmeister.